HomeLatest NewsAsylum-seekers told of imminent deportation after UK ministry ‘error’

Asylum-seekers told of imminent deportation after UK ministry ‘error’

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LONDON: Asylum-seekers in the United Kingdom (UK) have been left frightened and upset after the Home Office mistakenly sent official letters warning of their imminent deportation to Rwanda, The Guardian reported.

Sources in the Home Office admitted to sending out the letters in error, leading some of the asylum-seekers to believe that they would soon face deportation to the East African country.

The UK’s controversial bill cementing an agreement with Rwanda over the deportation of rejected asylum-seekers was being debated in parliament.

Sources said that follow-up letters would be sent to “clarify the situation.”

The mistake is the latest controversy to beset the Home Office, which faced criticism for similar communications sent in 2022.

A Syrian asylum-seeker, who arrived in the UK more than 18 months ago, said: “I was in despair when I received it and have not slept for almost a week thinking about what will happen to me if I’m forced to go to Rwanda.”

Other Syrians who arrived in Britain around the same time have since had their asylum cases fast-tracked and been given refugee status.

The letter, which was sent to the Syrian national’s lawyer, claimed that Rwanda had “agreed to accept him” as part of the migration deal with the UK.

It said: “We will therefore not be admitting your client’s case to the UK system at this time.”

The British opposition Labour Party accused the government of being “in disarray” over the error.

The director of Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrant Action, Maria Wilby, said that some of her clients had also been sent the letter.

The 2022 controversy, which involved asylum-seekers being warned of their potential deportation, had led to one of Wilby’s clients attempting to take their own life, she added.

“The impact of letters telling people they will be sent to Rwanda is significant and cannot be ignored.

“To admit these letters were a mistake does nothing to mitigate the suffering of those who received them,” Wilby said.

Ben Nelson, a lawyer at Duncan Lewis whose clients had also received Home Office letters, warned of the impact on asylum-seekers.

He said: “Such correspondence not only has a detrimental impact on asylum seekers’ mental health, but also gives them no indication as to when, or even if, their claim will ever be substantively considered in the UK, after waiting, in some individuals’ cases, for 18 months without any progress on their claims.” AFP

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